With the news that "30 Rock" was renewed for another season, an appearance on Oprah, and the release last week of her new memoir Bossypants, it makes you wonder whether Tina Fey’s recently-announced pregnancy is just a publicity stunt. "Science shows that fertility and movie offers drop off steeply for women after 40," Fey said recently. The above quote gives you a feel for how Fey’s Bossypants has been received by the critics; she tends to tread close to dangerously touchy issues, drop a incisive joke and move on to the next one. But man, the jokes are funny.
Plenty of folks around here have been curious about what Fey’s life was like before "30 Rock," before "SNL," before she wrote Mean Girls, and before Second City, when she was an undergraduate here at UVA. Bossypants offers a similarly hilarious, if noncommittal, primer on how she spent her time here in Charlottesville; she sums up her college experience with the tale of an adventure she took with a makeout buddy she calls Handsome Robert Wuhl (this is Robert Wuhl, by the way), a painstaking climb to the top of Old Rag mountain in the middle of the night. Here’s a couple of choice quotes about life in Charlottesville from the chapter "Climbing Old Rag Mountain":
- "Let me start off by saying that at the University of Virginia in 1990, I was Mexican. I looked Mexican, that is, next to my fifteen thousand blond and blue-eyed classmates, most of whom owned horses, or at least resembled them," she writes. "I tried to find the white-boy-looking-to-rebel, but I wasn’t ethnic enough to be an exciting departure."
- Later, she continues, "Thomas Jefferson—another gorgeous white boy who would not have been interested in me. This was my problem in a nutshell. To get some play in Charlottesville, you had to be either a Martha Jefferson or a Sally Hemings."
- Finally, she finds a boy, in Handsome Robert Wuhl, who would only kiss Fey under the cover of night in the backseat of his car: "I finally had my hands on a thin-lipped white boy so everybody just shut up about it!"
Fey’s local tale is a funny one, where Handsome Robert Wuhl turns out to be every bit of the jerk it seems like he is—or a "bro," as we’re sometimes called around here. Even if it’s a surface-level look back on her time in Charlottesville, and viewed mostly through the lens of an undersexed, self-proclaimed theater geek, looks like some of the hot-button issues—from Jefferson’s indiscretions to how to handle a "bro"—around town haven’t changed in the two decades since Fey started at UVA, going on to become one of the country’s most successful comedians, man or woman.
Is anyone out there not a Tina Fey fan?